All stories don't have happy endings. Some never last to Happily Ever After. Some are too painful to tell.
: Story Time :
The girl sat up, back propped against the headboard as the woman drew the covers up to the child's lap, smiling fondly at the grinning face. Once the routine tuck in was done, the girl folded her hands in her lap and smiled.
"Story!" Obliging, the woman picked up various books from a stack besides the bed and read the titles.
"Cinderalla, the Little Princess, Twlight, Stars-" She was interrupted by the girl shaking her head.
"I want you to tell a story. One you made up." After a moment, the woman nodded. Smiling, the child patted the space beside her on the bed. The woman eased herself onto the mattress, lying on top of the blanket as the girl squirmed with excitement next to her, stilling as the woman began to speak.
"Once upon a time, there was a boy and a girl." The child rolled her eyes, stopping guiltily when the woman looked at her. "Now, these weren't your ordinary girl and boy. You see, the girl was a princes."
"A princess? Like a tiara and castle and everything?" The woman waited out the child's eager questions, talking once the flow had stopped.
"Well, not exactly, but a princess nonetheless. The boy was strong, quick, handsome, and smart. He was, in fact, the leader of the team the girl was on."
"Yes. A team of heroes, in fact. What's a hero?" The girl took a deep breath and closed her eyes, as if preparing to recite something.
"A hero is someone who always does what they think is right, protects and helps others, and makes sure that everything turns out okay!" Beaming, the child looked at the woman, who smiled softly and nodded.
"That's right. Now, the boy and the girl liked each other, but were too afraid to tell anyone. However, the other people on the team knew, and decided to do something about it."
"They liked each other? As in like like?" Said the girl, eyes wide. The woman looked up at the ceiling, memories filling her eyes as she continued to speak.
"Yes. That kind of like. Well, the friends played a trick on the boy and girl one night."
"What'd ya do if I told you Star was leaving?"
"What! Is she going to? What do you mean?"
"Hold on! Answer the question, dude."
"I… I don't know."
"That's a first."
"Not really, Cy. If she left… my life would be over."
"Oh God. I love her, Cyborg. I love Starfire."
"Yes, friend Raven?"
"No, Star! I told Robin I wouldn't tell you."
"But WHY? WHY is he leaving?"
"… He doesn't feel needed, Starfire. He thinks we're better off on our own."
"That is NOT TRUE!"
"I know, but nothing we've said has stopped him. He's leaving right now."
"Well, that works."
"You can't leave!"
"Raven told me you were leaving. Why, Robin? You are needed!"
"Cy and Beast Boy told me that you were leaving. I could ask you the same question!"
"You mustn't leave, Robin. You can't leave because… because I love you."
"If you think you must leave, you may go. After all, who am I to say anything?"
"I… I would never leave, Star. Because I love you too."
"And?" The woman was startled out of her reverie by the child's tug on her shirt.
"Where was I? Ah- the trick. Well, the boy and girl told each other how they felt, and after that night, everything was fine. Five years later the boy and girl married each other. They had a beautiful baby girl, who looked very much like you, as a matter of fact, with bright orange hair and amber eyes. For a time, they were happy." The woman looked at the girl, who stared solemnly back.
"There wasn't a happily ever after, was there?" The woman closed her eyes for a moment, taking a deep breath.
"No. Because even though they were older, they were still heroes, and had to do their job. One night, there was a fire." A long silence as emotions conflicted on the woman's face.
"And…?" The girl whispered.
"When everyone was out, the boy looked for the girl. She wasn't there." A tear.
"He went back in to look for her." Another one.
"They never… came… out…" The child's amber eyes widened and then filled with tears as she understood: this was the story of her parents, how they lived, and how they died. She cried into the arms of the woman, who looked with blurred violet eyes towards the Heavens above.
Nightwing? Starfire? Are you watching over her? Raven thought, hugging BrightWing as she too wept.
Nightwing smiled softly as Starfire leaned into him, both watching over the child they had born and loved.
"We're watching, Raven. Thank you."